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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Johnston County buys 50 acres for administrative buildings

Plans for a new Johnston County administrative site appear to be moving forward.

The County of Johnston bought nearly 50 acres, excluding highway right-of-way, off of U.S. Highway 70 Business East for about $2 million — or $38,839 per acre — according to a deed filed on Nov. 3. The county’s Board of Commissioners in March discussed using the land for a new Department of Social Services building and potentially other facilities.

The county bought the land after they completed due diligence on the tract earlier this year. The current market value of the land is $178,650.

The former owners of the site are John and Kyle Hughes, per the deed. The Johnston County Report in March reported that the county paid John Hughes $5,000 for the option to evaluate the and for potential future use for county facilities and had until September to exercise the option to purchase. 

Johnston County is quickly growing as growth from the Research Triangle area spills out of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. The county saw an 8.7% growth in its population — 18,787 people — between April 1, 2020, and July 1, 2022, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Investors are also pouring millions of dollars into the county’s residential real estate market, per reporting from the Triangle Business Journal, with projects like the River Mews subdivision in Clayton poised to bring hundreds of new homes to the area. 

During a March 15-16 Special Meeting Strategic Planning Session, commissioners noted the need for the county’s government to grow in conjunction with the county’s booming population.

Per the meeting minutes, Vice Chairman Patrick E. Harris stated, “The county departments are forced to grow to meet the increase in demand for services; however, right now the space to accommodate that growth is just not there.” 

Harris spoke on the Department of Social Services, per meeting minutes, stating they have 350 employees crammed into facilities that can no longer accommodate them and that it has “become a necessity” to look at county facilities.

The Board also discussed the need to design facilities so that citizens do not have to travel to multiple locations for services, per meeting minutes.

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